Diseases of the udder in cows and their treatment

Diseases of the udder in cows and their treatment

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Dairy cattle are kept for the sake of milk production. A barn cow is kept at most for 2 years: the first time the barrenness could have been an accident, but the animal that has been idle and in the second year is handed over for meat. But even with annual calving, udder disease in cows can nullify all efforts to obtain milk. Unnoticed udder inflammation more than halves milk yield.

Varieties of cattle udder diseases

The types of diseases of the udder and their treatment in cows are not very diverse. In fact, there are only 2 diseases: edema and mastitis. But mastitis has at least 9 forms with 3 types of the course of the disease. Since one form of mastitis, in the absence of treatment, can turn into another, they are not isolated in individual diseases. Although some forms require specific treatment. But although the name of the udder disease is the same, in the photo the forms of mastitis look completely different.


From the point of view of "classic" diseases, edema cannot even be called a disease of the udder in cows. It occurs 1.5-2 weeks before calving and is a sign of toxicosis, from which cows also suffer. That is, it is a kind of physiological reaction of the cow's body to pregnancy. The edema disappears 1-1.5 weeks after calving.

Causes and symptoms

Movement during pregnancy is shown not only to people. The main cause of udder edema in a cow is the lack of adequate exercise.

Important! Calving is also easier if the cow was able to walk a lot during pregnancy.

The udder is enlarged with edema. Smooth, while skin folds are present on a normal udder. When pressed, a slowly disappearing depression remains on the skin.

Treatment methods

Treatment of edema is symptomatic: massage along the lymphatic vessels from the bottom up and laxative inside. But the easiest way is to let the cow move.

As a prophylaxis of the disease, shortly before calving, the percentage of succulent feed is reduced and the amount of dry feed is increased. Make the cows walk a lot. They drink from a bucket to control the amount of water consumed.


Mastitis is an inflammation of the udder. The forms of this disease of the udder in cows and their symptoms differ, depending on the cause of the onset and the speed of decision-making about treatment. The disease can occur at any time of lactation. Sometimes a cow gets mastitis during the dry period. There are many varieties of this disease. The classification is carried out according to the nature of the inflammatory process:

  • subclinical;
  • serous;
  • catarrhal;
  • purulent;
  • abscess;
  • phlegmonous;
  • fibrinous;
  • hemorrhagic;
  • gangrenous;
  • specific mastitis and complications after them.

The etiology of mastitis depends on the microflora that is the causative agent of the disease. Bacteria can also be a complicating factor.

Causes and symptoms

The causes of mastitis can be very diverse:

  • bruises;
  • wounds;
  • infections;
  • intoxication;
  • violation of milking rules;
  • poor care of the udder and milking equipment;
  • rough hand milking.

Some of the causes of the disease overlap with each other. An uninfected wound will not cause mastitis, and infections are difficult to penetrate in the absence of cracks in the skin of the udder.

The causes of intoxication can also be different:

  • gastrointestinal diseases;
  • decomposition of the placenta lingering in the uterus;
  • postpartum subinvolution of the uterus;
  • endometritis.

Symptoms of the disease in clinical, that is, obvious, mastitis depend on the physical condition of the cow and the type of pathogen. Before treatment, it is necessary to carry out a diagnosis. The main attention is paid to the prevention of the development of subclinical (latent) mastitis into an overt form of the disease.

Important! Swelling of the udder also often leads to mastitis.


Unnoticed subclinical mastitis quickly turns into an overt phase. The disease is best treated in its initial phase, before it develops into a serious problem. The diagnosis of subclinical mastitis on the farm is carried out by a veterinarian in the laboratory. But it is difficult for a private owner to do such research. There are 2 ways to conduct an express analysis of milk for subclinical mastitis at home.


The milk is filtered through dark gauze in order to identify the presence of clots. If, after straining, small flakes remain on the gauze, mastitis is present. In the absence of illness, milk will not leave marks on the gauze.


10 ml of milk is poured into a test tube and kept in an ordinary household refrigerator for 16-18 hours. In the absence of mastitis, a 5 mm cream layer is formed, no sediment. If the cow is sick, sediment will form in the test tube at the bottom, and the cream layer will be thin and mixed with mucus.

Symptoms of the clinical manifestation of mastitis

In addition to the species, mastitis can also have mild, moderate, and severe course. Symptoms vary depending on the form and severity of the disease. If left untreated, one type of inflammation often develops into another, more severe one.

Easy course of the disease

In a mild form, subclinical, serous and catarrhal mastitis occurs. With subclinical symptoms, there are no symptoms, but the milk yield is slightly reduced.

With serous mastitis, the cow is slightly depressed, lame. Milk yield is reduced. Milk from the affected lobe is liquid with a bluish tinge. The local temperature is high. Udder edema does not subside after milking. Udder lymph nodes are enlarged. The skin is hard and painful. In this form of the disease, the affected nipples in cows are triangular in shape.

With catarrhal mastitis, the condition of the cow is normal. Milk yield does not drop much. With the catarrh of milk passages at the beginning of milking, clots of casein can be seen. If catarrh has developed in the milk alveoli, clots appear at the end of milking. The local temperature is slightly higher. After milking, the udder is “deflated”. Slight enlargement of the lymph nodes. At the base of the nipple, dense strands and knots are probed. The shape of the nipple is oval.

Average course of the disease

Further, mastitis turns into a purulent, abscessed or phlegmonous form. Usually it is already difficult not to notice the disease at this stage.

With purulent mastitis, the cow is depressed, limping. There is no chewing gum. Body temperature 40 ° C. There is no milk in the affected lobe. It is possible to milk mucopurulent exudate with yellow flakes in small quantities. The udder lymph nodes are enlarged and painful. The skin is painful, hyperemic.

Absolute mastitis is characterized by an increase in overall body temperature and refusal to feed. A reddish liquid exudate with an admixture of pus flows out of the affected lobe. Lymph nodes are hot, painful, enlarged. Seals or fistulas are observed on the skin.

Phlegmonous mastitis is one of the most severe forms with an "average" level of the course of the disease. The cow is very depressed, the body temperature is increased to 41 ° C. Lameness is present and appetite is absent. The secretion of the affected lobe is reduced or absent. A prominent grayish secret with scraps of dead tissue. With this form of the disease, the skin of the udder in cows is cold, doughy consistency, lymphatic vessels are noticeable.

Severe course of the disease

It is still necessary to be able to reach the severe course of mastitis. In a dairy cow, nipple disease will become noticeable at its maximum in the middle stage. The cow will kick when trying to milk it. And it is most likely that the cow will begin to beat off at the beginning of the development of mastitis. A severe course is possible in dry, young or beef cows on large farms. It is sometimes difficult to keep track of an individual in a large herd. The severe course of mastitis is expressed in fibrinous, hemorrhagic and gangrenous forms.

Important! With a severe course of any of these three forms, the general body temperature rises to 41 ° C and above.

The fibrinous form of the disease is characterized by a depressed cow, refusal to eat and lameness. The diseased lobe is hot, painful, greatly enlarged, crepitus. Discharge from a diseased nipple of a straw-yellow color with fibrin films. In this form of the disease, the skin of the udder is thickened and hyperemic. Lymph nodes are sore, hot, and enlarged.

With the hemorrhagic form of the disease, exhaustion is observed against the background of diarrhea. The affected part of the udder is hot, swollen and painful. There is almost no discharge. A small amount of exudate that can be milked, cloudy and watery, brown in color. Crimson spots are visible on the skin of the udder. Lymph nodes are painful and enlarged.

The gangrenous form is no longer amenable to treatment. This is the final stage in the development of mastitis. It is characterized by sepsis, that is, "general blood poisoning" and fever. The diseased lobe is cold due to the cessation of blood supply. A liquid exudate with gas bubbles is released. With the gangrenous form of the disease, a smooth film forms on the skin surface of the udder of the cow. The lymph nodes are very painful.

Treatment methods

Treatment of mastitis is carried out in various ways, depending on the form of the disease and the severity of its course. There are general principles for the treatment of mastitis:

  • complex;
  • early;
  • continuous and constant;
  • providing rest;
  • frequent milking every 3-4 hours;
  • udder massage.

To the complex treatment, which consists in enhancing the immunity of the cow, specific measures are added, depending on the type of inflammation. It is necessary to start treatment as early as possible, since the alveoli that produce milk die during the inflammatory process.

It is impossible to interrupt treatment until complete recovery, as the disease will return. Rest is given to relieve tension in the mammary gland and reduce blood flow to the udder. To reduce milk flow, a sick cow is transferred to dry feed and limited in water.

Udder massage is carried out according to certain schemes: with serous inflammation from the bottom up along the lymphatic channels, with catarrhal - from top to bottom from the base of the udder to the nipples.

In the early days of illness, cold compresses are applied to the inflamed part of the udder to relieve the cow's condition. After 4-5 days, the inflammation turns into a subacute stage, and the cold is replaced with heat. Warming compresses help dissolve infiltrates. Udder edema of any origin is reduced by administering sodium sulfate in a laxative dose once a day.

Treating some forms of mastitis

Specific treatment is required for mastitis, accompanied by painful sensations:

  • serous;
  • fibrinous;
  • hemorrhagic;
  • the initial stage of an abscess.

In the treatment of these types of disease, novocaine blockade is used.

Important! The blockade must be done by a veterinarian.

For acute mastitis with high body temperature, antibiotic therapy is used. For best efficiency, combinations of antibiotics are used:

  • penicillin + streptomycin;
  • oxytetracycline + neomycin;
  • ampicillin + streptomycin.

Also, with inflammation in a cow's nipple, oil-based antimicrobial drugs are injected into the milk canal.

In the final stage of treatment, slightly irritating ointments are used to dissolve the remnants of the infiltrate.

Udder induration

This is an overgrowth of connective tissue in the udder. Complication after mastitis or prolonged untreated edema.

Causes and symptoms

The affected lobe is dense, does not fall off after milking. It remains large even in the dry period. In the thickness of the lobe, nodes can be felt, or it all remains evenly dense (meat udder). There is no soreness.

Over time, in the process of proliferation of connective tissue, milk production decreases. If the process takes place in the secretory part of the mammary gland, the quality of milk deteriorates:

  • gray;
  • mucous;
  • the presence of flakes;
  • unpleasant taste.

Sometimes the affected area of ​​the udder may be smaller, then it stands out with a very dense consistency.

Treatment methods

There is no cure. Growth cannot be reversed.


This is the next stage of catarrhal mastitis, which turned into an abscessed form in the absence of treatment. In the photo, the abscessed stage of the udder disease in a cow with an already opened abscess.

Treatment of abscessed mastitis is carried out.

Milk stones in the udder

Non-contagious disease arising from metabolic disorders. Stones appear if phosphorus deposits are deposited in the mammary gland or calcium is washed out of casein. Milk stones can also be the result of mastitis.

Causes and symptoms

There are only 4 reasons for the appearance of stones, but from very different areas:

  • disorders in the endocrine system;
  • unsanitary conditions;
  • mastitis;
  • incomplete milking of milk (more often leads to mastitis than to stones).

The stones can be clayey or hard. Their appearance is determined by probing the nipple. It becomes hard. When probing, seals are found. Stiffness also occurs.

Treatment methods

Before milking, the udder is washed with warm water and massaged from top to bottom towards the nipples. Loose stones in the nipples can be removed with a catheter. After that, during milking, pieces of stones are removed along with the milk.

In more severe cases, all manipulations are carried out only by a veterinarian:

  • surgical removal;
  • destruction by ultrasound;
  • course of oxytocin.

Milk is edible, but low in fat and high in acidity. It is more suitable for the manufacture of fermented milk products.

Milk incontinence

The scientific name for this phenomenon is lactorrhea. Occurs quite often. But do not confuse trickles of milk from an overflowing udder with lactorrhea.

Causes and symptoms

The causes of the disease can be paralysis or relaxation of the nipple sphincter. But problems with the sphincter also do not come from scratch. The following factors can cause the termination of the work of this muscle:

  • swelling in the canal;
  • mastitis;
  • injury to the nipple;
  • stressful condition.

The difference between lactorrhea and dumping milk from an overfilled udder is that in case of illness, the udder can be half empty. But the milk will still drip.

Treatment is either not developed or not required. Everything will return to normal as soon as the cause that caused the relaxation of the sphincter is eliminated.


It is not a disease in itself, but a consequence of other problems. The most common cause of stiffness is adhesions resulting from inflammation. The nipple canal narrows and stops opening.

Causes and symptoms

When the milk is hard, it comes out in a thin stream. The nipples harden; palpation may reveal scars and adhesions. If the milk is hard, it is likely that the milk will remain in the udder. In this case, a vicious circle occurs: mastitis-hardiness-mastitis. Sometimes the channel can be completely closed.

Treatment methods

At the first sign of illness, milk is milked as often as possible, even if it will be a painful procedure for the cow. To reduce pain, the nipples are massaged with anti-inflammatory ointment.


A bump on a soft udder cannot appear, but a bruise is easy. Usually, a cow gets udder bruises when the housing is too crowded. In a conflict between cows, one can hit the other. Fresh bruises are painful and the cow may resist milking.

Treatment is reduced to cold compresses for the first two days and warm in the following. If dense areas and blood appear in milk, you should consult a specialist. There is a very high probability that the bruise turned into inflammation.


Often appear during lactation due to rough milking. An infection gets through the cracks, which leads to mastitis and furunculosis. To prevent illness, the nipples are lubricated with a moisturizing ointment. The inexpensive Zorka udder ointment has been popular since Soviet times.


Bacteria penetrating through cracks in the nipples cause suppuration of wounds, which is called furunculosis. Follicles can also become inflamed if hygiene is not observed.

Causes and symptoms

With the development of furunculosis, the skin of the nipples becomes rough. At the initial stage of the disease, individual foci of suppuration can be distinguished. In the absence of treatment, suppuration grows. The udder skin turns yellow-red.

Treatment methods

Treatment of the mild stage is symptomatic:

  • clipping wool from the affected part of the udder;
  • treatment of the clipped area with iodine and ichthyol ointment;
  • opening ripe boils and treating them with penicillin or streptocide powder, you can use an antibiotic spray.

It is advisable that the opening of the boils is carried out by a specialist.

In veterinary medicine, diseases of the udder in cows include only edema and mastitis. The rest is either complications after mastitis, or just one of the symptoms of infectious diseases: foot and mouth disease, smallpox or lumpy skin disease. The opposite situation is also possible: mastitis is a complication of an infectious disease.


The mechanism of origin of papillomas has not been fully elucidated. They also often disappear by themselves. It is known that one of the types of herpesvirus causes the disease. Papillomas appear when immunity is weakened. Usually in young animals during growth.

In an adult cow, due to improper nutrition, they can also appear. Papillomas are usually painless, but sometimes they can be painful. In the event that they have grown near a nerve.

When milking, external papilloma can interfere with the operation of the machine or hand. If the papilloma has grown inside the nipple, it can provoke stiffness or pain.

Causes and symptoms

Very often, papillomatosis causes chronic poisoning with fern, which destroys vitamin B₁. Due to vitamin deficiency, immunity decreases, and the virus gains freedom of action.

Treatment methods

Although papillomas appear when immunity is weakened, an immunostimulant should not be injected at this time. Together with the body, warts are also "nourished". Treatment methods are associated with the prevention of the disease, since getting rid of papillomas is difficult, and often impossible.


Viral disease contagious to mammals and birds. It is characterized by fever and rashes on the skin and mucous membranes.

Causes and symptoms

The virus is usually brought in from the outside along with a sick cow that has not gone through quarantine. The incubation period of the disease is 5 days. Body temperature 41-42 ° C. Cows' skin lesions characteristic of smallpox appear on the udder and teats. In bulls on the scrotum. There may also be rashes all over the body.

Important! In case of smallpox disease, milking is continued even if papules are present on the cow's teats.

Cowpox is not dangerous to humans, especially if vaccinated. Milk from a cow with smallpox is boiled or pasteurized.

Treatment methods

Only symptomatic methods are used. The pockmarks are softened with fats, and the ulcers are lubricated with aseptic preparations. Antibiotics are used to prevent complications.

Foot and mouth disease

A highly contagious disease that affects all mammals. It is characterized by fever and aphthae on the mucous membranes, the skin of the udder, in the interdigital fissure.

Causes and symptoms

The causes of infection are the appearance of a sick cow in the herd or the introduction of the virus on the shoes or clothing of staff. The symptoms of foot and mouth disease are most pronounced in adult cows:

  • decreased appetite;
  • decrease in milk yield;
  • an increase in body temperature up to 40-41 ° С;
  • the emergence of aft.

Aphthae after 12-48 hours rupture, forming painful ulcers with ragged edges and a reddish bottom. By this time, the temperature drops to normal. Profuse salivation and lameness are present. After a week, the erosion heals.

With a benign course, the cow recovers after 2-3 weeks. If there is a complication of a secondary infection, mastitis and pododermatitis develop. In a malignant course, the cow dies after 1-2 weeks.

Treatment methods

Sick cows are transferred to a separate room and given a course of immunostimulating drugs. The mouth is washed with antiseptic drugs. The affected areas of the udder and legs are treated surgically, and antibiotics, antiseptic ointments and pain relievers are applied externally.


There are no separate "udder dermatitis" in cows. There is an allergic reaction, which can be expressed by redness and a rash. It is most noticeable on the udder, as there is too little wool there. But similar signs of illness can be found throughout the cow's body.

There is a viral disease: lumpy skin disease. After the incubation period, the cow's body temperature rises. Further, dense nodules appear on the skin. But also “all over the cow”. Naturally, these signs are most noticeable on cows with short, smooth coats or where hair is very sparse (groin). Lumpy skin disease also has nothing to do with udder diseases.

Preventive actions

Almost all diseases of the udder and teats in cows are reduced to one or another type of mastitis. Therefore, preventive measures also relate to the prevention of the development of this disease. Requirements for the prevention of infectious diseases are stricter and measures in this case are taken by others.

For the prevention of mastitis, livestock are kept in premises that meet zoological requirements. The same preventive measures include providing cows with quality feed. If machine milking is practiced on a farm, then all cows are selected for suitability for this type of milking and for increased resistance to udder diseases. Roughness is avoided when milking by hand: pinch milking.

One of the most important mastitis prevention measures is the timely and correct start of cows. The launch is carried out 2 months before calving. 7-10 days after starting, check the condition of the udder and the presence of liquid in the teat. If it was possible to milk only 15-20 ml of a homogeneous viscous substance, it is considered that the launch was successful. When removing a watery secretion with casein clots with a volume of 50 ml or more, an anti-mastitis drug is injected into each nipple. If necessary, the administration of the drug is repeated after 10 days.


Udder diseases in cows should be treated early in development. If you run even the mildest problem like cracked nipples, sooner or later it will turn into purulent mastitis, and it will all end up with gangrene.

Watch the video: Teat obstruction removal in a buffaloe (December 2022).

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